New Nike volleyball tournament kicks off in AZ

    Play starts today in the Valley for the inaugural Nike Tournament
of Champions for volleyball and, while last week’s Mesa Westwood Tournament
of Champions drew most of the area’s top-ranked teams, the new Nike
event drew 23 local teams that included seven schools ranked in the top
five of their respective divisions.
   Some of the first-round
match-ups between local teams that included ranked opponents included
Seton Catholic HS, ranked No. 2 in 4A-II, versus Northwest Christian
HS, a regular power in Class 2A.  Seton, behind the play of sophomore Haley Lawless, won 25-14, 25-22. 
Other games of note included top-ranked teams in 5A-I: Desert Vista HS
(No. 3) winning over Arcadia HS, 25-18, 25-9… Corona del Sol HS (No.
4) over Basha HS, 25-12, 25-15… and Hamilton HS (No. 5) defeating a
Millennium HS squad returning five starters and ranked No. 5 in 5A-II
at the start of the season, 25-18, 25-23.
    Desert Vista HS, the
odds-on local favorite in the tournament, also played in the Mesa
Westwood event last weekend, going undefeated through eight games
before losing in the semi-finals to tournament champion, Xavier Prep.
Desert Vista’s Betsi Metter was named to the all-tournament team.        
    Corona del Sol HS and Seton Catholic also played in the Westwood.  Corona placed Bethany Jorgensen and Seton placed Lawless on the all-tournament team.
    Some of the other local players to watch in the Nike TofC: Kyle Hartman (Desert Vista HS), Chanel Brown (Valley Christian HS), Kehaulani Baker (Basha HS), Talia Jones (Desert Ridge HS), Emily Allen (Pinnacle HS), Erin Truett (Millennium HS), Davia Lee (Sandra Day O’Connor HS), Cassie Ronda (Corona del Sol HS) Jordyn Moody (Hamilton HS), Sarah McGaffin (Horizon HS), Caitlin Lentz (Mountain Pointe HS), and Morgan Richardson (Pinnacle HS).
    Noticeably absent from this weekend’s competition were the No. 1-ranked teams in every division Class 2A through 5A, including nationally-ranked and defending 4A-I champion Sunnyslope HS; Xavier Prep, the two-time defending 5A-I champion; and Gilbert HS, ranked No. 2 in 5A-I.  Xavier and Gilbert played in the finals of the Westwood.
    This year’s inaugual Nike event has a field of 36 teams from Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  Games are being played in Chandler at Hamilton HS, Basha HS, and Chandler HS, and in Gilbert at Perry HS.  Final games will be played Saturday.